The Measles Vaccine and Seatbelts

Measles cases are on the rise. This comes as no surprise to me. Parents have chosen to not vaccinate their children, largely because of a since disproved theory that the MMR vaccine caused autism. The world is shrinking and globally contagious illnesses threaten our unvaccinated. I’m not quite sure why so much shade is still being thrown at a medical breakthrough that has saved countless lives. The evidence vaccinations are more harmful than beneficial just isn’t there. Sadly, I suspect the vaccine backlash is simply an opportunity to stand on a soapbox and voice childish rebellion against society. “You can’t tell me what to do.”

Fantastic. This makes complete sense. If you won’t vaccinate your children, I am not going to make my children wear seatbelts. Yes, it is the law, and I can be ticketed for failure to comply, but why shouldn’t I be able to do anything I want when it comes to my kids? You can’t tell me what to do … also, it is against my religion.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seatbelts save about 15,000 lives per year. That sounds GOOD!

BUT … bad things can happen. According to the NIH, seatbelts cause injury. “Skin abrasions and bruising occur on the surface, while common internal injuries are bowel and mesenteric injuries, along with fractures of the lumbar spine. Solid organ injuries such as liver and spleen laceration can occur in these patients. Likewise, injuries to the pancreas, kidneys, and any other visceral organ can occur.”

Yikes! So, you mean nothing is 100%? There are no guarantees? In order to be a responsible parent and member of a community, I may have to accept an iota of risk? Forget it. I’ll just hope we don’t get into an accident, like the anti-vaccinators will hope their children aren’t exposed to measles, which, if you haven’t heard is on the rise.



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Author: Karen Latimer

Dr. Latimer is a Family Physician and Wellness & Parenting Coach. She works with parents who want to feel more confident when helping their children and coaches young adults to help them better navigate college life and transitions. Contact her at to learn more. She is the author of two Audible Originals, Take Back the House -- Raising Happy Parents and Worry Less, Parent Better. She is also the co-founder of the app that makes your life easier and puts social in a healthier place -- List'm.